With the release of her newest book, An Uncertain Choice, I am excited to have Jody on my blog today answering some questions.
After writing for the adult market, why did you decide to transition to young adult books?
I have five children and three of them are now teens. That means that over the past few years I've ended up reading a lot of books in the Young Adult genre not only to stay abreast of what my kids are reading, but also to have discussions about the topics and world views within the books.
All that to say, I've fallen in love with reading YA books! Naturally, as I've fallen in love with reading them, I had to consider the possibility of writing them. And while I have a lot of other things going on my publishing career, I decided I wanted to make this move into YA now while I still had teens at home to read my books (and give me feedback!).
What's the story about and who are the main characters?
The heroine is a beautiful and wealthy young woman named Lady Rosemarie. She's on the cusp of her eighteenth birthday and knows her destiny is to fulfill a vow made by her parents. In light of their infertility, her parents had promised to give their firstborn back to God for a life of service and celibacy when she turned eighteen. Now with only one month before her birthday, Lady Rosemarie receives the news that there is an exception to the Ancient Vow–if she finds true love and is married by her birthday, then she's exempt from having to become a nun.
Faced with a growing loneliness and the possibility of losing control over the people she rules with compassion, Lady Rosemarie questions whether life in a cloister is really the best choice for her life. She agrees to allow the three handsomest and noblest knights in the land the chance to win her heart in one month.
Enter on stage, the three heart throbs! Sir Collin, Sir Bennet, and Sir Derrick. Each one is completely honorable and noble in his own way. Lady Rosemarie will have a tough choice ahead of her. Now you'll have to read the book to find out who she chooses and why!
How do you believe this story relates to the lives of readers?
Young people today really enjoy reality TV shows, especially ones that involve contests. My teens love watching Survivor, The Amazing Race, and even American Idol. There's just something about real competition that attracts us.
An Uncertain Choice is a little bit like reality TV, especially a show like Bachlorette (although a much sweeter and cleaner version!) where a young woman is presented with three really fantastic men. In some ways, she can't go wrong if she chooses any of the men. But readers get to join the adventure as she must narrow down her choices even as the clock ticks away to the day of her eighteenth birthday.
Aside from the many issues related to dating and marriage, the book also tackles issues like chafing under too much supervision, learning to become a strong leader, and how to display courage in different ways.
How do you hope parents will use this book with their kids?
While the book is an exciting and entertaining story that young women will enjoy reading, it's also a book that I hope facilitates discussion about dating, love, and marriage.
I've developed a free downloadable discussion guide to correspond with the book chapter by chapter that will is available on my website. It's my desire that mothers (or grandmothers) will read the book as a disciplining tool with their daughters and then use the story and study guide as a way to talk about relationship issues that often get overlooked.
An Uncertain Choice would also be perfect for mentors, small groups, youth groups, or Bible studies, where girls to come together to read and discuss the book as a way to spur thoughts about God's plans for dating.
What was the very first story you ever wrote? Was it ever published?
The first story I wrote was probably in first grade in a spiral notebooks, a book about princesses, princes and happily-ever-afters. And of course, it's long gone in the trash! But as far as my adulthood writing career, I wrote five novels that are collecting dust in a closet. They were my practice books, the books that helped me grow and become the writer I am today.
Why do you write?
I write because I love telling stories. I love the quote by Toni Morrison because it sums up part of why I write: "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Essentially I write the stories that I LOVE to read! Of course there are other, deeper reasons I write, too. But that's one of the main ones.
What are your hobbies?
My main hobbies when I'm not writing or reading? Drinking coffee and eating chocolate, of course!
No, Seriously. At this stage in my life because I'm busy being a mom, I don't have much time for hobbies. However, I do make it a point of running and keeping my body fit. And I also try to carve out fun family time each week. I love taking family bike rides, playing games, and having family movie nights.
Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy- tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five children. When she's not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.
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